innocent_man: (changeling)
OK, so, I need to count my points, it's easy to do it here, and I want to blog more anyway. So I'm going to put up my points every day, which you are cordially invited to ignore, and then something hopefully of interest, which you MUST READ. (Or not. I'm easy.)

I weighed myself yesterday. I'm at 240.4, which is more than I've weighed in a decade. Part of the issue is that I didn't go back to counting points in September like I should have, part of the issue is that I drank too much pop. Blargh. But anyway, I usually lose about 10 pounds a month, and I'm falling fairly naturally back into the swing of things, so when you see me in summer spring for Origins, I'm gonna look all svelte and stuff. I want to get down to about 200. 205 would be fine. Anyway:

My points from yesterday and today. )

OK, then. Now, Hunter/Mage (it's not really fair to say it's just a Hunter game anymore, as you'll see. Read on, dear reader. )
innocent_man: (changeling)
Wait, first this. Michelle made me a mix CD for Xmas, and this was on it:

On we go! )

And I promised you a Tactic:

Blind Man's Bluff

Prerequisites: All: Wits 2, Composure 2. Partial (secondary): Brawl or Weaponry 2, (primary) Wits or Composure 3

Requires: 3. 5 or more bestows a -1 to all primary actors' roll

Dice Pool: Secondary: Wits+Composure. Primary: Strength + Weaponry or Brawl - Defense.

Action: Instant

Description: It's an unfortunate, but sadly not uncommon, situation for hunters to find themselves unable to see, but fighting a monster that has no problem navigating in the dark. This Tactic, developed by a cell in Erie in response to an insane mage with a penchant for Forces magic and assassination, works somewhat like Disappear (p. 221 of Hunter: The Vigil) in that it has one secondary actor supplying successes to a number of primary actors.

The secondary actor remains back from the combat, using some method of seeing in the dark (night vision goggles, an appropriate Endowment, or just a keen situational awareness and guesswork) to keep tabs on the target. She then calls out a series of coded directions, indicating where the primary actors should strike. The primary actors keep in contact with a series of taps and touches to avoid hitting each other in the melee. If all goes well, the target gets punched or struck. Obviously, though, this Tactic has a rather dangerous margin for error.

Organizations: At present, only one cell of hunters uses this Tactic, and they're not affiliated with any Compact or Conspiracy.

Potential Modifiers: Darkness (-3 to all rolls; this can be mitigated for the secondary actor if she has night-sight goggles or some other method of seeing the dark)

Roll Results:

Dramatic Failure: The secondary actor calls out the wrong codes, and everyone gets muddled. All primary actors' rolls suffer a -4, in addition to darkness penalties. If a primary actor rolls a dramatic failure, he positions himself in exactly the wrong place and the next primary actor to attack targets him instead.

Success: Successes on the secondary actor's roll are applied to all primary actors' rolls. Successes primary actors' rolls, of course, are applied as damage to the target.

Exceptional Success: No effect for primary actors other than the additional damage. An exceptional success on the secondary actor's roll, in addition to the dice pool bonus for the primary actors, allows the hunters to surround the target. The target loses its Defense for the rest of the turn.

To Purchase: 14 Practical Experience
innocent_man: (redcaps)
Last night, I ran Hunter. Oh, I also cooked:

Rump roast, white cheddar, beets, angel hair pasta.

Cut the beef into medallions (no way it'd cook in the time I had any other way), seasoned it, made a gratin with the grated cheese, some rosemary and other herbs.

Pickled the beets in cider vinegar and red wine. Made a red wine sauce for the pasta. Done and done! Oh, wait, sauteed the beet greens in some sesame oil.

And then, Hunter. )
innocent_man: (hunter)
Prep for the next Hunter and Leverage games. I can do that. Now Hunter. )
innocent_man: (autumncourt)
Last night was the last session in my Autumn story in Snowblind. I'll have more thoughts on the chronicle as a whole later on, but right now I just want to get the write-up done before I have to go coordinate today's photo shoot for curse the darkness.

Oh, and if you're not following @play_attention on Twitter, you're missing out on all the funny things my gamers say! Here, I'll link to make it easier.

Tilapia, cauliflower, cheddar cheese, quinoa.

Not the hardest basket I've ever had. Cooked in the quinoa in broth, that's easy enough. Steamed and then salt-roasted the cauliflower, and make a sauce with the cheese and some goat's milk.

The tilapia, I took a suggestion from one of the players and cooked it en papillote, which is French for "in Dad's pills" or something. Wrapped the fillets in parchment paper with some lemon juice, fresh thyme, salt and some orange segments. They came out perfect - soft and flaky and tasty. Totally using that preparation for other stuff. Thanks, French!

Anyway, Changeling. )
innocent_man: (redcaps)
Ran Hunter last night. I shall now do the write-up, quick-like, so I can get back to playing Assassins Creed: Revelations. What? )
innocent_man: (hunter)
Kinda. New player (Matt, making three Matts in this particular game) is making his character for the new Hunter story (a continuation of this series). So I need some notes. M-m-m-mask. )
innocent_man: (arrow)
Monday night was the last chapter in our To a Dark Place storyline. But I'll get to that.

CCP games laid a bunch of people off at the White Wolf offices today. I don't know who, for sure, though I've confirmed with Eddy that the projects I'm on are going ahead, and that he's still there in the same capacity.

I just can't help remembering that, in December of 2004, two short months after my daughter was born, I was the one getting that news. I was annoyed and bitter, but I kept doing freelance work because hey, it paid more or less reliably and I was good at it. Eventually, getting out of doing gaming full time was the kick in the ass I needed to go to grad school and get a career that's a bit more stable.

Of course, now the governor of Ohio is trying, like the rest of the Republican party, to destroy public education and keep all the poor people dumb, but that's not immediately relevant.

Anyway, to anyone who lost their job today - my condolences. That sucks. I hope that you can turn this to some kind of advantage, and that you're lucky enough to get into a field that's truly rewarding.

In any case, Hunter. )
innocent_man: (changeling)
Last night, we played Changeling. We were, sadly, missing [ profile] hot493 as she had traveling to do, but we did manage to resolve some plotlines that have been riding roughshod over the chronicle (as plotlines are wont to do). Join us? )
innocent_man: (hunter)
So, normally, of course, I put the update under a cut so that all you folks out in LJ land don't have to read it unless you want to. Today, however, I'm putting the update before the cut, because I'm putting some notes on What's Going On after the cut. What that means is: For those of my players who are reading this, don't click the cut.

Last time, a couple of guys got killed right next to Tory, who fled and got together with the other folks. They met up at the church (this is late Saturday night, 4/14/07) and tried figuring out what was going on. There was a really nice, involved conversation with all six players contributing for a while, which is fun for me because I get to sit back and listen to dialog.

They did some science, too - they know that Mike can "feel" magic sometimes, but he wondered if he could feel it after the fact, rather than as it was happening. So he went outside and Samuel cast a spell (Mage Sight) on Lydia and Justine, and then Mike came back in to see if he could feel residual effects. He couldn't, initially, but when he touched Lydia (not Justine, where the spell didn't last because of Disbelief) he felt magic (that sounds dirty, dunnit?). Bottom line: Yes, he can feel ongoing or residual magic, but it's more of an effort and not as reliable.

And interesting side discussion here: Mike went to try and feel magic on Samuel (geez, there is just no way to say that without it sounding naughty!). He asked if Samuel had any spells up at present; he did (like any smart mage, Samuel keeps an armor spell on). Samuel was reluctant to drop it, as it takes effort for him to replace it. Tory mentioned that if he dropped it, he'd be without armor...just like the rest of them are all the time.

From there, they decided to go crash at Tory's place. She lives in half of an old warehouse, and she, Lydia and Samuel went there. Samuel felt magic on the door and somewhat in the place, but couldn't pinpoint what it was - a trap? A warning system? All it did was make them paranoid.

Mike and Max went to the Warner Theater to grab some supplies from Mike's stash. And he felt magic, there, too, but fleeting and weak.

Justine went home alone to grab an overnight back. As she was walking down the stairs (she lives on the top floor of a duplex), someone grabbed her ankle and tripped her. She does parkour, of course, so she landed without incident, but there were two guys there...and one of them had the ax.

The guy without the ax punched her, but not badly, and she blocked the shot from the ax with her baton. She put the guy with the ax in a chokehold and disarmed him, whereupon the first guy ran. She picked up the ax and felt an immediate urge to kill...which she suppressed. The other guy ran, and she dropped the ax, and called Samuel. Samuel, Lydia and Tory called Mike and Max and started heading for Justine's place.

But just then, she felt a searing pain and dropped to her knees, apparently electrocuted. She stayed up, somehow (Health track full of bashing damage, but man, chick would just not go down). Everything went black, and someone grabbed her in a choke hold...but she grabbed the ax and swung back. Whatever it was let her go, and she swung blind, again, hoping to hit...and the ax seemed to help. And then she passed out from the pain, finally.

When the other got there, Justine was in her house, on the couch, still groggy and hurt, but not seriously injured. The characters arrived and saw to her, and the cops showed up a moment later. Turns out two guys had been found with her bag and wallet down the street, but they were both dead from what looked like ax wounds. Justine put a page in to Detective Brennan, and then the ambulance came to take her away. The other characters looked around, and the CS guys had found the blood outside, but it was tainted - ammonia? Someone was here who knew crime scene procedures.

While they waited for the ambulance, Samuel called Cypher, and admitted he was well and truly out of his depth, here. He needed assistance. Cypher told him that the time had been erased already, but just for the area. She looked back in time on the two dead guys down the street, and saw them taking the ax from a garbage can outside Martin's apartment earlier that day (Martin being the friend of Tory's who'd been murdered earlier). What was it doing there? Those two assailants were homeless guys - why did they take the ax, and then stalk and attack Justine? Cypher wasn't sure, and those guys were dead.

The characters followed Justine to the hospital. She was admitted, and Sean came in to see her. He told her that, as things stood, the report would read that these guys attacked Justine and tazed her, and she fought back and killed them with their own weapon. They managed to get down the street before bleeding out. It was a story that was obviously bullshit to anyone who looked deeply, but no one would. Sean said that he left New York because his captain had told him, flat out, that this was the way the world worked and it was never changing. He left Boston because he'd refused to go back to sleep and it turned bad. He agreed to talk with her friends, and said that he'd provide information and access that they might not otherwise get, but cautioned that he had to be careful how much he got involved in an official capacity. And then the doctor came in to give her sedatives, and he left.

The others came in as the drugs were taking hold and she told them Sean had been there. Tory went looking for him, but didn't see him, and two cops at the door said that they hadn't seen him all night. She called him, and he answered. He agreed to meet them the next day, but said he couldn't get away from work that night. Tory relayed the message, and the characters agreed to meet in the afternoon at a coffee shop.

Next morning, Samuel got up early (he and Lydia stayed at the hospital) to go do his sermon. The others met up the coffee shop; Justine was still in the process of being discharged. Sean met them, and Samuel asked him flat-out: "Are you a mage?"

This came with a lot of bickering between Lydia, Mike and Max, and Sean advised them to get that shit under control before they went meeting people. To Samuel's question, he said, "I don't think of myself that way."

He said that he'd done the same thing in Boston that they were doing here - hunting down what he called "shadows." He said that it had come crashing down in Boston, and five of his friends had died. He left the city and came here, and thought maybe he could go back to sleep, but hadn't been able to. This made some sense to the characters, who were all in a similar position.

Maxine, of course, was more interested in what Sean had been doing last night. He said that he hadn't had the ax yesterday and didn't put it in the garbage can. He remembered working the case when Stuart Laughlin was shot (the pawn shop owner), and it was right after that he started having nightmares. He got put on some heavy-duty sleeping pill, and that helped. But his script ran out and he hadn't had time to go to the doctor to get it refilled...and the dreams had started again.

He denied killing Fallow (or anyone, really), but he admitted to finding himself in strange places and losing time. It was possible, he conceded, that he'd killed five people this week. He said he'd been there last night when Justine was attacked, but that he hadn't cast a spell to electrify her (Lydia, however, noted that sometimes spells go wrong and do things you didn't mean them to).

The characters felt that the ax was nudging him to kill people; it just seemed to make the most sense, based on what they'd seen. They agreed that Sean shouldn't be alone at night, and Lydia (whose player will be out next session) said that she would stay with him. The other characters found other avenues of approach. The stepson of Stuart Laughlin, for instance - Gregory Ludwig. Where's he? He was the one that brought the ax into the store to begin with. Samuel said that he hoped that Ludwig was in town, wielding the ax or being used by it...but a use of Grim Sight confirmed that Sean had killed, and recently. Didn't look good. (Sean also confirmed that he'd been in Tory's house and the theatre, but just used magic to open the locks. He said that, from the outside, it was hard to tell a hunter from a shadow and he just wanted to confirm that these folks are who they say they are.)

Donnie Cubbins, the man that shot Stuart Laughlin, might have something to say, too, but he certainly wouldn't talk to a cop without laywering up. Mike and Max decided to take a ride to Frackville, PA (it's about 5 hours from Erie) to talk with him. Mike also said he might be able to get hold of some of the pills that had helped Sean sleep, to which Sean said he'd have no problem with that.

Epilogue: Justine checking out of the hospital. She shakes the doctor's hand. Afterwards, the doctor remarks to the nurse how cold the lady's hands were.

OK, now for What's Going On: Don't read if you don't want spoilers. )
innocent_man: (abyssal)
So yesterday I got a mandoline in the mail. This, not this, though they're pronounced the same way. In fiddling with the fiddly bits, I sliced my finger open. I managed to get it bandaged, but this morning it was still bleeding, so I went to the emergency room. They couldn't stitch it (it wasn't really big, and it had been too long since the cut to superglue it), so they just steri-stripped it and gave me a tetanus shot. ("Do you know how long it's been since you had a tetanus shot?" "Um, my best guess would be 1992." "Yeah, you're getting one.").

Well, tetanus shots (right in the shark!) don't hurt in an of themselves. Even with my issues with needles, it's just a little prick (like Rick Perry). But it's sore as hell afterwards (like Rick Perry).

Really, my biggest issue now is that my index finger hurts, and so typing is a pain in the butt. So I'm forestalling writing for my new World of Darkness project until it heals up. Don't worry, Chuckles, you'll still get it on time.

And, I ran Hunter on Monday. There was stabbing. )
innocent_man: (Default)
Never did one of these for my Hunter games, and they're handy.

Cold Feet - May 5-26 , 2006
Session one
Session two
Session three
Session four
Session five

Jumping Off - November 27-28, 2006
Session one
Session two

To a Dark Place - April 13-16, 2006
Session one
Session two
Session three
Session four
Session five

Time of Our Lives - October 5, 2007 - ??
Session one
Session two
Session three
innocent_man: (lsd)
Feels weird to be running this game today. It's a Monday game (and it's Monday), but no school today means it feels more like Sunday. Anyway, notes. )
innocent_man: (changeling)
I actually have a movie review and three Chopped dinners to blog, too, but I have to triage since I only have about an hour of usable time, here. So! More violence. )
innocent_man: (mta)
Last night was our first session of Hunter. Oh, and I forgot a character: Tory Jones, [ profile] anaka's character from Jumping Off. So with that in mind: )
innocent_man: (hunter)
Hokay, so, running Hunter in a few hours. This game includes characters from Cold Feet and Jumping Off. To recap:

Cold Feet started out as a ghost story, but it became apparent that the "ghost" was actually a mage with great power, but the emotional capacity of a spurned 13-year-old. The characters tracked him down, called him out, and eventually managed to bring him to some semblance of justice. It turns out that the Awakened situation in Erie is kind of messed up - Cypher is willing to go outside the Consilium to find help with things like Knell (the mage in question). This all ends with Samuel ([ profile] docelboze's character) Awakening as a Moros mage.

Jumping Off includes Maxine, [ profile] hellgirl5's character, but an otherwise new group of hunters. They're a women's parkour group that stumbled across a missing girl-turned-mindless vampire, and manage to track her down and stake her. That story ended with VASCU becoming interested, which may be something I'll want to play up here. The players were mentioning that getting involved in the higher tiers might be fun, but I'm not just going to let them crack open Hunter: The Vigil and pick their poison (which would be Ascending Ones...nevermind). I asked around about which they'd prefer to do: investigate mage-related stuff or vampire-related stuff. They chose mage, which is awesome, but a little more work for me.

See, mages make lousy crossover characters. Prometheans, changelings and even Sin-Eaters make better ones. Yes, Sin-Eaters are kind of powerful by comparison, but they're also hyper-focused on ghosts and death. Werewolves make more sense with a pack of their own kind, and vampires are hindered by the whole daylight thing. Mages, though, are so damned versatile. It's not that they're too powerful (game balance is a myth), just that by adding one mage to a group you get information gathering skills far beyond what most other splats can manage. Which, dammit, is what we've done here.

Well, anyway, when you're not sure on what to do for a game, you start with the characters:

  • Maxine Ryan: Parkour-using, gung-ho hunter lighting technician.
  • Samuel Dennison: Protestant minister turned Moros mage, still presently an apostate.
  • Mike Webber: Viet Nam vet, no-nonsense soldier.
  • Justine Berry: Parkour-using cop/hunter.
  • Lydia Jackson: Not technically a hunter, but might as well be. Showed up here and here.
  • Tory Jones, the found-object artist/parkour woman.

So what do we know? Well, this group is more fight-capable than either of the two that preceded it. Which makes sense, really. Non-fighters like Cheryl and Molly have dropped out, leaving the folks who are capable (and willing) to throw down fighting the supernatural.

Initial challenge: Group cohesion. Lydia is an outsider. Justine has only met Max. Samuel is a mage. They'll need some way to all get together, and I don't want to have a voice from on high - or ever Cypher - have them do it.

Lydia probably has more direct experience with the supernatural than any of them, since she's seen killer housecats and powerful demons and suchlike. Ooh, here's another thing: When does all of this happen? All Cats Are Gray was October 2004. Fallen is Babylon was 2005. Cold Feet was May of 2006, and Jumping Off was the following November. In other news, I'm seriously behind in maintaining my timeline. Anyway. Maybe I'll bring that up to date this weekend.

The most compelling stuff I see from these disparate chronicles is the interplay between the cell of hunters and the mage community, and the possibility of involving VASCU. And I think I'll avoid using VASCU, because I did in my Changeling game already (and besides, this doesn't fit the "serial" bit).

OK, then. And now, the players-out noise. )
innocent_man: (goblin)
I'm making ribs! Yee!

Three marinades. One is a lime juice/white wine/garlic kind of affair, the other is a hickory-smoke/garlic/ketchup/onions/cooked down to sauce/brushed on later sort of the, the last is a green apple/honey thing that I improvised. So I've got briquettes going and one slab in the oven (because my grill isn't big enough to hold all three slabs). We'll see how it all works out.

In case you didn't catch it the other day: curse the darkness is on Facebook! Go to and "Like" us, yeah? :)

I'm working on putting together art and graphic design for the book, and, of course, writing the text. Also going to be adding some rules that produce an endgame, which helped throw into focus some thematic clarity that I think we needed. I'm jazzed, and I'm hoping to be able to have the book in print by GenCon 2012.

And then last night, of course, was Changeling )
innocent_man: (changeling)
First off, some blue-booking by [ profile] magicloaf, Vivian and Nox' player:

From the minute I made the deal I knew exactly how I was going to kill.

It wasn’t that hard, really. I’m sure that people would expect it to be Blanco, what with the poetry of it all: making my competitor the final key to winning the Autumn Crown. But let’s get real here: There’s no way I could manage to get close enough to him, what with all his thugs and bodyguards. Ah, Blanco… I bet he thinks he’s got this whole race wrapped up, that with his vast network of drug dealers and his silver-tongued oaths that there’s no way I could cause more fear than him. But I’ve got one thing he doesn’t have: A demon.

Dealing with the demon in the church wasn’t my first impulse. Really, cross my heart. I wanted to go low key, cause a ripple of fear that would swell into a tsunami of terror. But I’m running out of time, and let’s face it: Subtle isn’t really my style. So I dealt with the demon, just like I’ve done before. I don’t really even feel all that badly about what I have to do next, because it’s the perfect revenge that has been long overdue.

I still remember the night Trent dumped me. How could I forget, it was the same night I was crowned Homecoming Queen. I thought life couldn’t get any sweeter and that I was finally getting everything I deserved. But I didn’t expect one of the most popular guys in school to dump me. Me! And for that flat-chested nobody, Kimberly?? Oh no, I never forgot, not even through my slavery in Faerie, working for that horrible hag. I knew someday I would make him pay.

Scaring Trent wasn’t a difficult feat, he was always a wimp when it came to lame horror films anyway, but I didn’t realize how much fun it would be. It was almost too easy, slipping away from those other Changelings while they were sneaking into the church. And thanks to Facebook, I knew that Trent would be home alone. Poor Trent, all alone with no one to play with. He didn’t even lock the back door of his house. And when I appeared in front of him, the look of shock was priceless.

“Hello Trent,” I purred. “Miss me?” To him, I looked exactly as he remembered: Long red hair, blue eyes, and of course my dazzling smile. It was this smile I gave him now, so knowing, so full of anticipation. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, lover.”

“Vivian?” He croaked. “I-I thought you were dead.”

“I know, everyone does. My disappearance was so tragic. Did you go to my memorial, Trent? Or were you too busy screwing your new girlfriend?” My smile twists into a snarl. “Nobody dumps me,” I hiss. “Nobody! Do you know how humiliating that was?”

Trent just stared at me, unsure of what to say.

“There really is a Hell, did you know that? I know because I was there. It’s true that it’s different for everyone. Mine was full of screaming cats and a hideous old woman. And it’s your fault. If you hadn’t broken up with me at that bonfire party, I wouldn’t have been wandering around in the woods by myself. Wouldn’t have been taken by Them.

I can tell that Trent has no idea what I’m talking about, but it really doesn’t matter. As his pupils begin to dilate in fear, I can tell that my story is having the desired effect.

“They turned me into a freak!” I shriek at him. “I can never go home, never see my friend again, never be normal!”

I pause for a moment to collect myself, since the next part of my plan is crucial. Slowly, I let the veil of my human appearance melt away so that Trent can see the real me. And as his fear escalates into true terror, I see myself reflected in his wide, staring eyes: Hair made up of long strands of brilliant flame, eyes that burn coldly like the blue of candle flame, and the crisp autumn leaves that dance around my head on a silent breeze.

“This is what I am now, lover,” I croon as I leisurely advance on him. He backs away haltingly, until his back hits the wall and he’s pinned in place by my gaze. I press against him gently as I bring my lips to his ear. “And I need your help to win one final crown.”

Slowly, I pull the knife out from behind my back, and I realize that I’m no longer talking to this pathetic boy in front of me, but rather I’m addressing something else, locked away in a nearby church.

“Because if it is my fate to be a freak,” I whisper, caressing the knife along his throat, “then I will be their Queen!”

* * *

And now, notes, which players should ignore. )
innocent_man: (changeling)
As my children play in their makeshift fort in our newly clean living room (OMG. Was getting stabby from the clutter), I figure it's a good time to do the write-up from the game yesterday. Yee!

So! When we last left our heroes... )


innocent_man: (Default)

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